NEW YORK, Sept 1 Agnieszka Radwanska refused to use a recent personal tragedy as an excuse for her shock exit from the U.S. Open on Sunday.
In another boilover of a women's already without Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Sam Stosur, Poland's third seed was eliminated 6-4 6-4 by Russia's Ekaterina Makarova under floodlights on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Radwanska was aiming to become the only woman to reach the quarter-finals at the four grand slam events this year but despite a blazing start, in which she led 4-0, the 24-year-old was bundled out by her more powerful opponent in one hour and 32 minutes.
Radwanska's preparations for Flushing Meadows were complicated last month when she left the U.S. during the Cincinnati Masters to attend the funeral for her grandfather in Poland.
"I had a couple of days to practice, to adjust to the courts, to prepare for the Open," she said. I don't want to make any excuse. It's not because I went back home that I lost today. It's not that, for sure."
Makarova struck 28 winners to overwhelm the more tactically-minded Radwanska. The world No.4, who moved up in the seedings following the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova, lost eight straight games to concede the first set and trail 0-2 in the second.
Radwanska fought her way back, and held four break points to level the second set at 4-4. Makarova, the 24th seed, sealed the game with an ace before going on to close out the match with a flurry of big serves and forehands.
"I wouldn't know what happened," Radwanska said. "She was a little bit nervous in the beginning but started to play better and better, and she hit the ball very well.
"I didn't do anything to win that first set."
Makarova's next opponent will be Li Na after China's fifth seed defeated Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-0 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It will be the 25-year-old Makarova's first quarter-final at the U.S. Open. She has twice reached the last eight at the Australian Open.
"It feels amazing, I really love this tournament," she said.
(Editing by Julian Linden)